We are the champions! DESA footballers return from USA victorious
- Credit: Archant
Young footballers from Dereham have returned home from a tour in the USA as champions.
Dereham Education and Soccer Academy (DESA) won the Las Vegas under-19 Player Showcase Championships.
The team began their 12-day tour in Las Vegas.
DESA had a 100pc win record and topped off the tournament with an emphatic 5-1 win.
In addition to five students already committed to deals in the USA for next season there was interest in DESA players from top NCAA Division One schools.
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Will Sainsbury-Logan, captain of DESA, a partnership between Dereham Sixth Form College and Dereham Town Football Club, said: 'It's a different style of play in the US and the conditions were difficult, which makes the win feel even more special.'
DESA coach Tom Parke said: 'The boys were a credit to the sixth form. Their preparation and dedication in between matches as well as their performance on the pitch was exceptional.'
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The boys were rewarded with a ride around Las Vegas in a stretch hummer and visited the Stratosphere.
The team spent time in San Diego, watched the USA play in the World Baseball Series at Petco Park, toured the University of San Diego where they played NCAA Division One outfit, USD Toreros, spent three nights in Santa Monica, visited the world-famous Wild Card Boxing Gym, took a bus tour of Hollywood and watched an NBA basketball game between La Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks. They enjoyed a tour of the StubHub Centre and played an LA Galaxy Academy team.
Dereham Town manager Matt Henman said: 'Having performed so well against their Academy team last year, and helping them out with players for Steven Gerrard's coaching session, LA Galaxy again afforded us the privilege of a friendly. For the club and our players to have that kind of opportunity is amazing and produces great memories for us all.'
DESA returned in high spirits and secured a place in the national playoff quarter finals with a 3-1 home win against Oaklands.